Which Leafs would you keep?

Whoever replaces Kyle Dubas has got a plethora of offseason priorities and issues to sort in the offseason, one of those will be personnel.

There are 10 players up for Unrestricted Free Agency in the summer, among them those that want to stay, those who want to leave, and those the Leafs will have to fight to keep (subject to salary cap and prospects).

The UFAs: Noel Acciari, Zach Aston-Reese, Michael Bunting, David Kampf, Alexander Kerfoot, Ryan O’Reilly, Wayne Simmonds, Erik Gustafsson, Justin Holl and Luke Schenn.

We’re looking at just some of these Leafs and considering if the new GM should bring them back next season. Do you agree?

Noel Acciari

2PGP3EH Toronto Maple Leafs center Noel Acciari (52) dives for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Michael Laughlin)

Acciari is arguably one of the best acquisitions that the Toronto Maple Leafs made back in February. Leafs snapped him up from the St Louis Blues and he’d go on to an asset in the Playoffs.

He’d play 11 games in the Playoffs, scored twice and delivered 78 shots on goal… not bad for 31 years old.

While he originally signed a one-year contract with St Louis Blues worth $1.25M, should Leafs welcome him back in summer? Would $2M be a suitable amount for his services in Toronto?

Ryan O’Reilly

2PR12GN Toronto Maple Leafs center Ryan O’Reilly (90) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period in Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Monday, April 24, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

This is a contract extension which would be great for the Leafs but what are the chances it happens?

O’Reilly has been impressive at center, especially so that when he switched position with the captain John Tavares during the Playoffs. Tavares would move to the wing.

He did say last week that he’d like to stay but that’s ultimately up to the new GM.

‘I have a lot to think about regarding what I’m going to do, but this organization is incredible.

‘The players that they have, the people who work in the organization, every facet that’s looked after is wonderful.

‘To be part of this organization is an amazing thing, and I have some decisions to make going forward.’

Would a salary of $5M per year seem fair to you?

Luke Schenn

2PNWJ8T Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn (2) and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tanner Jeannot (84) fight during the third period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Thursday, April 20, 2023, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Schenn was reunited with the Toronto Maple Leafs back in February. Leafs had re-acquired him after trading their 2023 third-round pick.

While he returned without a guarantee of much playing time, he did manage 15 appearances, one goal and one point.

He said he was relying on the depth of experience from his time with the Vancouver Canucks and even suggested during the media availability after the Round Two loss against Florida Panthers, that he was getting better.

At 33 years old, maintaining a level of performance is difficult. Will playing on two teams which went on to win the Stanley Cup work in his favour? If Leaf retained Schenn, would it be best he was on a conservative $1 – 1.5M per year salary?

Erik Gustafsson

2PWCA4T Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Erik Gustafsson (56) cuts around Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Saturday, April 29, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

While the 31-year-old had only nine games with the Leafs during the Regular and Playoff season (two during the Playoffs), his return to Toronto is questionable.

Gustafsson did show his capability to get the puck up the ice and as a good support in the Power Play, at a salary of $800K, could that be money worth saving from the cap?

Maybe he’ll end up back with the Washington Capitals?

David Kampf

2M88HC8 Toronto Maple Leafs center David Kampf (64) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Kampf joined the Leafs back in 2021 and didn’t miss a game.

This season alone, he racked up 27 points with seven goals. While scoring hasn’t been where his strengths lie, his capabilities as a defensive player have improved over the past two.

Is he worth retaining? Possibly. He played fourth line centre during the postseason but this could be easily filled by the likes of Pontus Holmberg.

If they do, perhaps a renewal of his $1.5M is the best way forward. Kampf may well be looking around for something new though.

Posted on: 30 May 2023